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Sangre Voss - Mendl15 (A-Z Records, 2021)



On yet another mesmerising release, producer Sangre Voss continues to surprise and delight with his intelligently made and joyously endearing take on all things Leftfield and groovy, with each cut displaying such fullness in both character and vibrancy.


Injecting a knack for the unexpected into the music which you make will always have listeners on the edges of their seats, never quite knowing what will float along next but always expecting a journey of sorts to guide them through to the end. Electronic Music has always been filled with narratives which merge the concepts of art and tone, where soundscapes display the kind of elements we expect from the umbrella genre, such as drums, keys and the like, but then on top there persists this free flowing layer, on which seems put in place purely to service the whims of the person behind it all. As the listener begins to look deeper, an enormity of features start to present themselves that seemingly speak on a frequency which immediately perks up the interest, subtle and almost nonchalant musical meanderings that flicker in and out of the light, escaping our grasp but persisting on the edges of reality. This symbiosis of concept and physicality really help to bind the listener into a world that knows no bounds and accepts no limits to its potential, only that there is always room to grow within the tracks and overall vibe being presented. When producers perpetually approach the craft of musicianship with these ideals in mind, then the results will always be fascinating, provoking the listener to intently engage with the rolling structures and sounds and come to a conclusion that might have been quite different when the opening chords and drums floated along. This kind of musical application has existed within all strains of Electronic Music, with this experimental approach always serving up the goods when it comes to feeding the mind with interest and profoundness. In many ways this angle helps to make the music stand out, to be tall and strong amongst a vast and seemingly endless sea of releases that all march to a similar drum, but instead this conceptual approach means that the sounds are one to revel within, to latch on to and remain alongside, forever entranced by what has been served up and what might possibly come through the door next. The unexpected is always a good thing, as it leaves us on our toes and on the preverbal edge of the seat, and that is certainly something we can all get behind.


For some time now, production whizz Sangre Voss has been pulling out all the stops to ensure that his productions sound brilliantly unique, and his discography has thus developed into one of the most intriguing narratives within modern day Dance Music. To pin down his sound as simply one genre is futile, instead we look at it as a grouping of genre based experiences that have been beautifully woven together to provide the elements of a sound that remains constantly on the outward edges, its eyes looking beyond into the unknown in search of new elements to incorporate and discover. Within many of his productions you get the sense that anything could be revealed to us, and this excitement serves as just one of the many positive elements which exude from his music. Voss places a lot of emphasis on the grooves which are found within a number of his tracks, but this is certainly transposed with his inventive use of melodies, which verge from the beautifully melancholy right through to the abstract and progressive. As both elements remain dynamic throughout it means that an enormity of styles and feels are injected into each of his records, with ever enlarging goalposts meaning that we never quite know what corner he is going for. The sounds found within his records verge between the lines of House, Leftfield, Breakbeat, Tribal, Ambient and IDM, and it's the emphasis on the lines between here that provide us with the most bountiful of experiences. Voss seems very much at one within this sphere of cross-pollinating genres together, as he seems so willing to provide the music with an arc that follows a trajectory which seems indefinitely unconventional, but feels so right and brilliant when placed within the context of his sound. His discography is seeped in conceptualised and beautifully conceived sounds as a result, with all of his records worthy of being highlighted, starting off with the wonderfully diverse 'Dance Class' record, which landed in 2019 and certainly helps to set the stage for all that was to follow next; the beautifully flowing scapes that make up the 'Expressions of a Mind in Slumber' release, that arrived last year, which pairs undulating Ambient tones with fragments of Voss sleep talking; and finally, the feverish energies that make up the breakbeaty masterclass 'Steppe', which was released alongside Will Hofbauer earlier this year, and again emphasises Voss' ability to immerse himself in yet another kind of sound altogether. In all, there are plenty of twists and turns found within Voss' audial narrative, but it is these features that primarily have us coming back for more. His ability to understand the many languages that persist within Electronic and Dance music has led to an appreciation of how these genres all co-exist, and thus finding the spaces for which to include elements that feel quite unexpected, and yet so, so right. From his leftfield meanders through to the utterly sublime ambient masterclasses and back through to some rough and read breakbeat, there's a whole world found within the hands of Sangre Voss, and he's very much extending an invitation out to us to get to know it all in painstaking detail. For sure check out his early works, they really are something.


And now we arrive at his latest offering, 'Mendl15', which lands on Al Zanders' A-Z imprint. On his most ambitious club leaning effort to date, Voss really takes us on a whirlwind tour through a solid heap of vibes, tones and tempos, where the unfamiliar becomes normality, and the feeling we leave with is one of utter fulfilment. Its a record that dips and dives - as mentioned - through a number of differing scenarios, with each track displaying a unique characteristic that takes the listener to a very particular place indeed, but all the while remains standing tall as part of a collectivised unit of audial experiences. From the Balaeric leaning expanses through to the intricate IDM tinged rollers, via the Acid infused progressions and back again, its an array of delights that very much invite you to sink your teeth deeply into. Voss' eye for detail means that every nook is filled with something to marvel at, as a gaze takes over us simply through the manner in which the layers slide by at a dazzling speed, never for one moment letting us fall off the path. If you want a record that scratches your itch for a late night boogie at home, or a moment of pure rhythmical bliss on the dance floor, AND features a Al Zanders edit, then this record has you covered . So, on that note, lets dive into this special record, and discover all that awaits us......


Up first comes 'Guido', and this one begins with the whistles and the emerging drumming patterns to get us going. The initial salvo is deeply intriguing, with many layers involved in making the pulse feel like its got a million places to lead us to, and as time passes by the groove starts to grow with new elements which make it even more entertaining to listen to. The melodies are located within the interesting usage of whistles and bird calls that pepper the top ends of the track, with these noises added to further with the occasional pad that cuts through into the mid ends, and around the 1:40 mark everything cuts out to reveal the keys' true intentions. We are left with the muted kick and not much else, save for the beginnings of a melodic sequence that really hits a chord somewhere in the mind. Two sequences emerge from this moment, a high octane downward leading line alongside an development of the chord progression that persisted during the introduction stages, and the two features delightfully intertwine with one another with heaps of meaning in tow. The track then takes its time to allow us to get acquainted with the ever shifting musical landscape, as the keys converge then fall away, perhaps floating out into the ethereal night air, who knows. What an opener. The title track comes next, and this one begins with the swinging beat - complete with castanets (we think). After a few bars we see a chord then a intricate key line emerge from across the hills, and this sequence then makes itself right at home among the percussive features, as we begin to gently nod along to the developing symbiosis. The track then filters out the melodies on top to leave a muted sense of things to come, but the track explodes into life soon after, with the drumming pattern in particular becoming increasingly complex as time passes by, upping the ante with breakbeaty elements leading the charge. The hats hit so crisply, with a real sense of intention that draws us further into the mix, and as time passes by a new key line emerges from underneath, taking the form of a eerie siren like progression that overtakes the intricate interplay of before and replaces it with a sense of pure abandonment. The key line makes a return soon after though, and we are left to continue day dreaming as we see life itself speed up around us. Wonderful stuff.


Up next comes 'ATC Penguin', and this one already starts to move in mysterious ways. The drums are packed together tightly, with plenty of texture placed on them as we start to immerse ourselves amongst the layers being presented. A constant ringing element perches itself up top, acting as an anchor of sorts that keeps things ticking over, with some ingenious methods placed on developing the rhythmic underbelly of the track. This sense of momentum comes to a head when everything breaks down to introduce the lead melodic line, which develops into this charming almost traditional Irish kind of sequence, with the drums amending themselves to match the keys placement and movements. A chiming guitar like melodic line joins in on the fun, with this relationship on full display as the track breaks down to give room to the keys, and before long we emerge back into the core momentum, with the drums hitting hard once again alongside the ringing element from before. Weird, wonderful and so delightful, this one. Up next comes the Al Zanders edit of 'Bona Fide Friday', and this cut begins with an intriguing juxtaposition of density and rhythm. The intro shifts from a softly enveloping drumming line before shifting into a space where a clap of sorts rings out in a singular manner, crafting this wonderful balance to the track's progression, and as time passes by the drums and solid chord lines grow into these gaps. The drums then drop away to leave us with the melodic outlay, which consists of the quirky lead key line and the backdrop pad, before descending into an array of groovin' elements which introduces a new bass line and further additions to the drums. The track then drops down once again to see in yet another new passage, and this section is dominated by an acid line to die for. Its placement feels right at home with the previous sequences, and as a vocal sample emerges from the filter we move back into the dance once again, as pulsating bass notes permeate through a rich sea of rhythm. The vocal sample chimes in once again which in turn encourages the acid line to come back swinging, with our eyes filled with delight every time it passes by, as the cut plays out into the busy evening, feeding off the energy of interactions and all the fun to be had. Top notch.


'All My Friends Are So Baroque' comes next, and this one begins with the breaky beat and a spectrum of melodic features to get us going. Out of the mist comes a solid bass line which looks to guide the focus into the pulse, but we just can't keep our eyes on the simmering key lies that groove around atop the high line, and this feeling only intensifies as time passes. Within the first breakdown Voss introduces some gorgeous chords that provide an appropriate backdrop to proceedings, and as the drums come back into view the feeling is still one of pure captivation. The intricacies are laid bare for all to see, and the contrast from the solidness of the backdrop chords right through to the complex fabric that makes up the mid section, there's so much here to get to know and fall in love with. Perhaps our favourite one yet, this one. to wrap things up, we have 'Brettes Sholden', and this one starts with the beat to get things rolling. The rhythm slides along with plenty of space found within it, with the arrival of the siren like chord, things become more compact, as additional elements get thrown into the mix that mean the spaces feel less big. The chords return once again, but this time they are followed not by empty melodic space but instead are filled by captivating sequences that challenge the notions of what should have come next, with the tone of a certain passage overly metallic in feel, but it somehow fits in with the vibe. The original chord comes back into view, but this time Voss layers everything up and this only furthers our investment within this track - no matter what comes next, it will always capture the imagination, and Voss perhaps does this most successfully on this track. The melodies float away to leave us once again with the beat, which remains just as enchanting as the first time it came past our way. This record really does have it all.


Never quite knowing how songs will unfurl is a feeling which always gets the blood pumping, and when this happens continuously within one record, then the experience is enhanced to its absolute maximum. Sangre Voss is a producer with plenty to say, and his music stands up to this testament in every sense of the word, its tone and diversity taking us on journeys to the crossroads between a plethora of genres. His ability to delight through the interweaving of off the wall melodies and layers is omnipresent on this new record, and due to the length being increased to six tracks, there's even more time for Voss' impressive sonic outlay to be showcased. Each track demonstrates an enormous level of depth, intricacy and progression, with sequences flowing into one another with a beautiful harmony reversed only for the finest of Dance cuts. The dips in energy are most welcome and provide a sense of balance between the soft and the hard, with this dyanism also reflected in the excellent Al Zanders edit which sees the record move into its final third. The unexpected should be celebrated, and Voss takes this to new heights, bottles it and pours it over the land and the sea, captivating everything that it comes into contact with, and this record only furthers this notion. A quite brilliant album, in every sense of the word.


Support the troops:


https://azrecords.bandcamp.com/album/mendl-15-2




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